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Silly filters and paying for replays - is Snapchat losing touch with its audience?


Most people with an interest in social media will have noticed this week that Snapchat have released a new update, and quite a significant one in my eyes. So firstly let’s discuss the minor player in this debate, the new filters, or ‘lenses.’ If you’ve updated your app you’ll know by now what these are, but if you’re unfamiliar lets explain. After taking a selfie you can now opt to hold down on your face and select filters ranging from rainbows pouring from your mouth to a quite frankly alerting image you’d expect to see in the early hours on the horror channel, and to most this has probably come as a 20 minute spout of entertainment you’ll never bother using again. The question is, besides a marketing stunt what is the real purpose in such a feature? I mean hats off to snapchat, they’ve got people talking about it which will ultimately result in more users, but what about their existing users. Does it add to the experience of using their app? Hmm, I’m not too sure on that. But let’s not get bogged down with this issue, after all it is only a minor update that of course you don’t have to use, and when I say minor, it certainly is minor compared to snapchats genius new feature I’m about to delve into. Detect sarcasm? You’d be right to.

So here it is, snapchat are letting us buy back snaps that would otherwise be lost, basically when the picture has gone you’re allowed to buy it back to be replayed again for a grand total of $0.99 for 3 replays. Now, am I dreaming this or have they just removed the feature that a large proportion of their audience depend on. You see, when snapchat first came out it filled us with confidence as far as sending images went, you felt free to send whatever you wanted safe in the knowledge it would vanish into thin air after a few measly seconds, something that was simply not comprehendible before the app. The simple fact of the matter is, most of the snaps you send you wouldn’t really post on Facebook, or Twitter or any other social media platform, because they’re more a spur of the moment thing that you don’t want your recipients to really see again, and I’m not saying that because they’re rude, snapchats are just an expression or a piece of humour or a picture that’s been taken to be talked about, not to be replayed over and over.

I know a few of you will be thinking to yourself, there’s already a replay feature, and that would be true. But there’s a bit of a difference between being able to replay one snap every 24 hours and being able to replay as many snaps as you want over and over again. As a source of revenue it seems to me as though snapchat are clutching at straws a bit here. Almost as if they’ve realised that offering news corporations a prime slot on their interface wasn't the golden ticket, and sat twiddling pencils they’ve come up with this genius plan to pick the pockets of their users by offering them the ability to reverse the core purpose of their application. I’m sure a few people will enjoy this feature, and see it as a small price to pay to recover a picture or two. I’m also sure it will cause upset amongst a few social circles, I’ll leave that one to your imagination. What I’m not too sure about is how many people out there will really want to pay for a piece of nothing, of course unless it isn’t a piece of nothing, after all if you’d wanted your picture to be seen forever you’d have just posted it on Facebook. It almost seems as though snapchat are being a bit naughty here, but have they really thought it through? Ultimately, if you’re sending pictures on the grounds that they won’t be seen again, are you really going to continue using the app on the basis they can be seen again? I think not.

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